Pikmin 4 review: Nintendo’s new micromanagement game that is hard to put down

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Nintendo’s micromanagement sequel has landed on the Switch with adorable creatures and thrilling boss fights - it’s one of our top games this summer

Pikmin 4 has launched on the Nintendo Switch adding to one of the Japanese gaming companies most beloved series. The game is a brilliant solo or co-op adventure that is the perfect summer holidays game that players can easily sink hours into playing.

Pikmin is one of Nintendo’s top game brands, which first made its way to consoles in 2001, joining the ranks of Zelda, Mario and Animal Crossing. The franchise is celebrating its 22nd year in October and was initially inspired by Mario and Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s love of gardening.

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Pikmin 4 is great for those who are fans of the franchise, as well as those who are looking to pick up something new. The game follows the same game play style of former games where you order around little plant people to collect items, fight monsters and complete in-game puzzles.

The game starts off with the same concept, with you and your crew crash-landing on an undiscovered planet. The environment is earth-like and feels familiar and welcoming to players, except you are a tiny pint-sized space cadet and everything is overwhelmingly huge.

Your mission in Pikmin 4 is to rescue Captain Olimar, but in order to find him you must collect Sparklium from hidden treasures to help get your spaceship back into the sky. Various bric-a-brac style items can be found across a variety of levels including an iconic Game Boy Advance, various pieces of fruit and vegetables and rubber ducks, which can be transformed into Sparklium.

As you move through the game, players will discover Leaflings, strange space-man style characters with leaves growing out of their heads, which will challenge you to Dandori challenges. Dandori is a pre-existing Japanese term which refers to forward planning and organisation and the challenges ensure players use all their Pikmin effectively to collect as many points before the clock runs out.

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Players must use their Pikmin and rescue pup Oatchi to fight creatures. Throwing Pikmin at enemies but be careful as each creature will have its own combat styles, with different Pikmin having their own unique abilities to help you fight with ease.

Eight different Pikmin types are included in the game including the original red, blue and yellow creatures, as well as ice, rock, flying and other options. The red Pikmin are strong, the blue creatures can swim underwater and ice ones can help freeze enemies and give you added time to attack.

Pikmin 4 is arguably one of Nintendo’s best games of the yearPikmin 4 is arguably one of Nintendo’s best games of the year
Pikmin 4 is arguably one of Nintendo’s best games of the year | Nintendo

It is easy to grow new Pikmin by collecting tokens or enemies which will give you Pikmin seeds to pluck and add to your growing army. By collecting nectar, you can bloom your Pikmin which gives your characters a cute little flower and additional damage protection.

Pikmin 4 has five good sized open world levels to explore, with each one unlocking the more Sparklium you collect. You’ll need to make it back to your spaceship before nightfall, otherwise unguarded Pikmin could be attacked by any enemies.

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The game has a good level of challenge, which can make it addictive and hard to put down at the end of the day. Players quickly become attached to their Pikmin collection, feeling sad when they are killed by enemies, which has been saved by an automatic checkpoint feature, where players can easily rewind and bring them back to life.

The game has a cosy style aesthetic and is great for players who enjoy games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as well as being great for those who enjoyed Tinykin which followed similar gameplay mechanics. The attention to detail draws players in quickly, with little features bringing the tiny Pikmin to life.

I was quickly enamoured by the Pikmin chanting as they carried things back to the spaceship and the little group songs they would sing as we rode Oatchi’s back to our next destination. The game is charming from start to finish, with the landscaping and graphics truly impressing any player.

Pikmin are tiny plant like creatures which can be used to navigate the vast open worldsPikmin are tiny plant like creatures which can be used to navigate the vast open worlds
Pikmin are tiny plant like creatures which can be used to navigate the vast open worlds | Nintendo

Despite the main quests, little side tasks, including curing Leaflings and collecting resources to buy new gadgets and one-off items. Leaflings can be saved by completing Dandori challenges or collecting them during cave explorations.

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In order to heal Leaflings, players must undergo night missions using brand-new glow Pikmin which can be used to fight enemies and protect the Lumiknoll which will release goo that can be turned into medicine. Glow Pikmin are immune to most attacks, other than being eaten and are a great addition to the game.

Reaching the end credits takes around 20 hours with full completionist gameplay taking around 40-50 hours. A final bonus level is notably harder than the rest of the game which tests your Dandori skills and how you navigate using your Pikmin.

Pikmin 4 is arguably one of Nintendo’s best games of 2023 and is one of our recommendations for summer holiday family friendly games. The game has followed high selling The Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom and is the second big game to be released by Nintendo this year that has not disappointed.

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